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Good, but it seems like they're holding back - 70%

NightOfTheRealm, May 28th, 2004

Lunaris is a Norwegian band comprised of members of such renowned Norwegian acts as Borknagar, Satyricon, and Spiral Architect. With that said, one can fairly easily imagine the resulting sound of the band’s debut album, THE INFINITE.

Obviously, technical-progressive Norwegian-styled blackened metal is the logical conclusion, but Lunaris is more than just a sum of its parts. Billed as “Intricate Astral Metal,” Lunaris pushes the limits of each of the aforementioned bands of Lunaris’ members, yet still manages to sound like none of them in particular. The sounds of Borknagar and Spiral Architect are obviously evident, though in parts of the album, Lunaris sounds quite a bit like Cynic in terms of musicianship and song structure. More than just Norwegian in style, the band also incorporates a fair amount of classic heavy metal riffs and leads into the project.

This mosaic of styles is simultaneously a boon and a chink in the band’s armour. For the most part, the songwriting is strong enough to incorporate the transition from a driving riff or technical interlude to full-blown blastbeats and choppy-riff frenzy. Personally, I find this blast-beating tiresome, as any clown band from Norway, or anyo of the other zillion Emperor-esque clone band playing “True Norwegian Black Metal” can pull off a scene like that. While these moments are overall rare throughout the album, they do pop up, and even dominate a couple songs, like the waste that is “Primal Construction,” or “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” (with its annoying as hell intro). For each of these pits of despair, there are bright stars of technicality, such as “Growth Denied,” with its great passages and the Cynic-esque closer, “Soulcrush.” In addition, “Of the One, and “Mother of Storms” remind me of an Arcturus composition. Although it is hard to give a clear-cut example of the defining moment of such a diverse album, “In the Eyes of the Heretic,” “A Final Journey,” and “In Contempt of Humanity” best sum up what Lunaris has to offer.

When I first read the description of the band’s sound, I was somewhat worried about what was in store for me, as such a collaboration of artists and styles could go in either direction of awesomeness or suckitude. I must admit that I am more impressed with this album than I ever hoped to be, although I feel that a band possessing such talented musicians (who have proven themselves on such albums as A SKEPTIC’S UNIVERSE, and QUINTESSENCE), are capable of much more. In any case, fans of Borknagar, Arcturus, Spiral Architect, and similar bands would find something of interest in what Lunaris has to offer.

(originally written by me for www.metal-rules.com, March, 2003)

Eh... - 70%

Xeper, May 17th, 2003

Maybe it'll grow on me. But so far, after spinning this album a few times, all I hear is Arcturus with less electronics and more Dimmu Borgir style keyboards and shrieks. I only like some of Arcturus's stuff, and am not really a Dimmu Borgir fan. So maybe I'm kind of biased. But all these songs have the standard cool little neoclassical keyboard lead, cheesy keyboard chords as they break into heavily triggered blastbeats and monotonous shrieking, and uninspired riffing. Only thing about this album I really dig is the lead guitar work. Sometimes they'll just break out into an almost Maiden-esque dual melody, which certainly helps. Also, the soloing is generally very classy and cool. Still, this album all kind of blurs together, and while I think they still have some very good ideas, they pretty much bled these few ideas dry trying to stretch them out into a whole album. They probably could've taken the material on here and crafted a very good and progressive EP, but this album simply gets lost in the huge foray of electronic neoclassical black metal bands which seems to be all the rage right now. Another oversaturated field, much like Gothenburg. This one unfortunately doesn't stand out from the pack by much, but I certainly hear potential.